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Jim Bunkelman, Producer
Astraea^Bluejay Young, Interviewee
Oure Gaiya^Jazz, Interviewer
Jazz: Hi and welcome to Multiplicity 101. This is the official podcast of the
Plural Activism Awareness Group. My name is Jazz, a proud member of Oure Gaiya, and I will be your host for today. This is our first in a series of podcasts focusing on Multiplicity, also referred to as Plurality. Our definition of being Multiple is very simple: Many minds that share one body. We say minds instead of people because some Multiple groups have members who are not human beings. I promise we will discuss this in greater detail in a later episode. We know our listeners are very curious about Multiplicity and have many questions. For now though, we would like to limit each episode to just a few questions at a time. If you have a specific question you’d like addressed feel free to send them to us at the email given at the end of this broadcast and we will address them in a future podcast.
Our guest for today’s broadcast is Bluejay Young -- a member of a Multiple system, Astraea. They run a website that provides information on both the psychiatric and independent Multiple experiences. Hello Jay, and welcome to Multiplicity 101.
Jay: Thank you for having me.
Jazz: My first question for you today is regarding the image of Multiplicity especially by the Medical community, but by society as a whole too. Many people think that being Multiple is a mental illness and that you need to be in therapy to fix your problems. What are your thoughts on this?
Jay: Well, the idea of it -- being Multiple as an illness or something that is wrong may be a Western cultural notion. You’ll often hear that diagnoses of MPD are unique to North America, and this often used as an argument for saying that it doesn’t exist, or that it is imagined by sensation-seeking professionals that foist it on their clients. But first of all, MPD is recognized in Europe as a mental disorder for which you can seek professional help if you feel it is necessary. It’s in the International classification of diseases as F44.81.
But, is Multiple Personality always a mental disorder? That’s what we’ve questioned since we first recognized ourselves as Multiple in 1987. It’s simply not true that all Multiples are basket-cases. Truddi Chase and her Troops, who wrote When Rabbit Howls, experienced full-on Multiplicity with blackouts and amnesia and switching and they were functioning very well. They owned their own commercial real estate business. Later they worked as a legal secretary and a commercial artist. If that could happen, Multiples like ourselves who don’t experience the traditional blackouts or amnesia and who do have successful communication could function all right in the everyday world as well. And this is what we have found to be the case for many many systems out there whether they are diagnosed by a doctor and have classic MPD/DID, or are self-recognized, self-monitoring groups like ourselves.
Jazz: [Mmhmm.] Ok, well my next question for you is two-fold. There’s been considerable controversy about Multiplicity. People just don’t want to believe it. How do you feel about this and what are some ways we can convince people that our experience is real?
Jay: Well there is always going to be people who refuse to believe that it’s real. They can’t understand -- perhaps, they are afraid to understand, how several separate minds can coexist in one body. You’ll hear them repeat "one body one personality", or, "one brain one personality" – it’s a mantra to them. And meanwhile, the brain-mind experts are saying -- No, that is not necessarily the case. Personality itself is really a social construct and isn’t medically verifiable. And, that is true for single people, not just plurals. You can’t put a voltmeter between your ears and [muffled laughter.] measure personality.
Jay: The closest they have been to empirical proof are some brain scans, which appear to show that the brain waves of Multiples change as different people in the group take the front – that is take charge of and use the body. There were other tests and studies in the planning stages, but in the mid-1990’s there were a number of scandals within the American Psychiatric Association about over-diagnosis and over-hyping of the sensational aspects and this caused a retrenchment in which Multiple Personality was completely discredited.
Jay: And that’s when it got the name change to dissociative identity disorder. Professionals were actually being fired from clinics [muffled] for diagnosing their patients with DID. And, at the same time, these people who were doing the neurological studies on Multiple Personality lost their funding and were unable to complete those tests.
Now you ask, “How it can be proved -- how can we let people know our experience is real?” The key to telling people anything whether you are selling merchandise, or have a message to get out is promotion. Talk about it; get it out in the open, on a web site or a blog, social media and print, and yes print newsletters and the alternative press are still in existence. Get it out anyway you can -–
Jay: -- comment in news articles, letters to the editor. If you are out Multiple, even as something as simple as wearing a t-shirt or a button with a Multiple-related slogan on it – you can write a book, and self-publish it. And, if you are in the closet, as we are, there are still many opportunities to get the word out that we are out here. It’s just like the Gay-rights movement. Before Gay Pride, before Harvey Milk, they had secret societies like the Mattachine society. Being Gay at that time was illegal --
Jay: -- and could land you in jail or mental hospital, so people used initials or pseudonyms, but they could and did communicate about their experience.
Now, you ask how we can convince people that it’s real. It’s tough to convince anyone who isn’t already aware that Multiple Personality is real, or that it exists independently of psychiatry as a mental disorder. People will have to find out for themselves. So, the best thing to do is to keep talking about it. There are people out there who do not realize that what they are experiencing is Multiplicity. If you can even reach one person, or one group, and help them to see that successful Multiples exist –
Jay: That we are not all basket-cases. We don’t all have to integrate. Not every case is like Sybil.
Jay: You can consider yourselves to have succeeded.
Jazz: Wonderful. Wonderful. Ok, one last question for today’s podcast. What is your answer to people who ask how it is possible for several minds to co-exist in one body? We personally have heard our existence dismissed on the basis of it being impossible. To have a bunch of little people running around inside a single body. [muffled laughter.]
Jay: Well this reminds me of a discussion group that I used to be on in the early 1990’s. This is pre-Internet – this is back in the days of the BBS [computer bulletin board systems].
Jay: A Multiple group that we knew of at that time was running one of these BBS discussions – had to go in for a brain scan for other reasons. I mean they were having migraine headaches. And, we were all joking about – that’s how you know if somebody is Multiple, you do a brain scan. And, she came back and she said, “Well the scan didn’t show a bunch of people waving.” [laughter.] Anyway – no, but we’ve heard several explanations for that. Of course, the most popular one with mental health professionals is that it is really just one mind that perceives itself, for whatever reason, as any different independent minds. They think you should treat the client as a collection of parts that have fragmented; split apart, shattered, and need –
Jay: -- to be glued back together. And, I’m not saying there aren’t Multiples like that, because I know there are. But having several actual independent minds we’ve heard a lot of ideas. Truddi Chase and the Troops experienced an initial split of their birth person into two cores. But, then these existing minds gave birth -- to many more new minds. Now, why can’t a mind do that without a traumatic split being involved? Maybe minds are like bodies. Some people are born twins, or triplets, or quintuplets.
Jay: Maybe several minds can be born together.
Jazz: [Indeed, Yes - Yes.]
Jay: And, some people have a more spiritual explanation. They think it is related to channeling. It could be spirits from the next life. They think it might be aliens, like the “walk-in theory.” We’ve heard all these things. And, we don’t have a firm idea ourselves of what makes it possible. Now, we see ourselves as a “Gateway system.” We think there is another world or dimension where all of us live, and then we access this body to do things here. But, that is our subjective experience. We feel it is real, but we know there is no convincing anyone. And, this probably sounds really out there to all but a handful of people that are listening to this right now. The whole thing could be imaginal for all we know. That is, it is real to us, but it’s not physical, and there is never going to be any evidence. That is the closest that you can come to explaining any of it. It is a person’s experience. It is the group’s experience. But, what other people – other people have to take it for granted – take your word for it. And, that’s something that a lot of people today are simply not willing to do.
Jazz: Or, are unable to do. Ok, thank you. Thank you for listening to Multiplicity 101. We’d like to thank our producer, Jim Bunkelman, for helping to make these podcasts a reality [support expressed.] We also want to be sure and thank today’s guest, Bluejay Young of Astraea for being a vital part of our podcast, and you our listeners for tuning in. You can be a guest on a future edition of Multiplicity 101. If you are interested in contributing to the show, contact us. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s aspen like the tree and patch – all one word. In addition, if you have any questions or comments, please email them to us also.
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